Achieving ROI from Social Media


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Where’s the ROI? This is a pretty popular question from business leaders and mar/com folk. In many respects the question is driven by a campaign-centric mindset and a short-term ROI mentality.

Whilst doing research ahead of a workshop for Australasian Mutuals Institute recently I came across a Forbes Magazine article describing how US credit union Navy Federal has used social media to create lasting engagement with their community AND generate measurable ROI.

Navy Federal Credit Union - Facebook BannerLooking at the data provided in the article the results are pretty impressive. But there’s a key point underpinning this:

“Our mantra is engage now, sell later.” (Don Varela)

1. Know How Customer Needs Are Changing

Navy Federal Credit Union clearly identified how member needs started to change a few years ago – Navy Federal moved into social about four years ago as it noticed that members were spending more time on social media. I stress this a lot to my clients and it’s one of the reasons Kinship Digital has introduced a social data/share of voice audit – a deep review of how and where conversations are occurring.

2. Dialogue vs Monologue

“We try to do a blend of content, fun, relevant information and education.”

Sticky content usually ticks one of three boxes – it educates, it enlightens, it or entertains.

3. Involve the Whole Organisation

In financial services, supporting military personnel, with a branch network and physical call centre – social media could have been shoved into an isolated silo that ultimately would have increased risk, but NFCU has been able to involve different departments so as to ensure everyone in on-board:

  • 24/7 support plus processes to move engagement into more secure channels when appropriate
  • Use of enterprise technology so as to meet compliance and risk management requirements
  • Transparency – allowing negative posts to be public creates strong community engagement.

Supporting Business Goals – the ROI

The financial ROI is clearly stated in the article – The credit union said its Facebook advertising led to 6,000 new certificates, totaling $90 million and 5,400 auto refinance loans for $96 million.

Another ROI metric to consider is the consistent level of engagement with their community via Facebook – this in turn increases their average daily reach – further amplifying their social efforts.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Parker
Mark Parker is the founder of Smart Selling, and the specialist business unit – Smart Social Media. The core aim of both businesses is to help companies become better sales organisations by utilising the ideas, tools, and practices of Sales 2. and social media.


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